Six Finalists Chosen for Imagine H20 Urban Drinking Water Challenge

Imagine H2O and founding partners Bluewater and 11th Hour Racing have announced the 2019 finalists of the Urban Water Challenge, a global deployment program for entrepreneurs reimagining a water-resilient future. 

Over 220 startups from 38 countries applied to the challenge representing a diverse range of innovative solutions to the global water crisis — from on-site pollution control to off-grid safe drinking water supply. Imagine H2O’s evaluation committee selected six businesses from five different countries to be honored at World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden.

The challenge’s founding partners committed $500,000 in cash awards and pilot funding to validate and scale the winning solutions with fast-growing urban communities globally. Each finalist will showcase their solutions at World Water Week in Stockholm Aug. 25-30. Two winners from the cohort will be announced during the Challenge’s Award Ceremony hosted by Bluewater and 11th Hour Racing Aug. 26 and will be eligible for additional pilot funding awards. 

“With a quarter of the world’s population of 7.7 billion wondering where their next drink of water is coming from, the planet already is coping with a water crisis,” says Bluewater President Anders Jacobson. “It will only get worse as the UN projects that global demand will exceed supply by 40% in 2030. We are excited about the innovative solutions that have been developed by the finalists of our second annual Urban Water Challenge. This group of global entrepreneurs shows what is possible for a water-secure future.”

Led by a panel of industry experts, the challenge finalists were evaluated on the basis of commercial viability, market readiness and impact. “It was a privilege to be part of the evaluation committee, and I commend all the applicants for their tireless efforts to address water challenges around the world,” says Michelle Carnevale, grants program director for 11th Hour Racing. “We are thrilled to put a spotlight on the challenge finalists and their innovative solutions to advancing the UN Sustainable Goals as part of 11th Hour Racing’s commitment to the environment through innovation.”

The Urban Water Challenge 2019 finalists are:

  • Indra: deploying modular, decentralized industrial effluent and wastewater treatment systems in Mumbai. 
  • SmarterHomes: expanding a smart water metering solution to apartment buildings in water stressed communities in Namibia. 
  • StormSensor: providing real-time data and insights to U.S. utilities, allowing them to better manage changing stormwater conditions.
  • Upepo: integrating low cost measuring devices with Narrow-Band IoT to provide real time revenue and water loss management data to Kenyan utilities.
  • WatchTower Robotics: scaling an untethered robotic tool for high-accuracy mapping and early leak detection in water distribution networks in Vietnam. 
  • Zilper Trenchless: deploying a trenchless technology in Colombia to install and replace water pipes without the need for excavation.


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